Close

yogurt.

In just six days, Greg and I will have been married for 2 whole years!  To us, that is unbelievable.  This weekend we will be taking a 4 day vacation in the Point Mountains, WV, and staying in an eco-friendly cabin that has a brick bread warming oven and a Swedish green system.  Our plan?  Just to sit, relax, enjoy each other, and bake bread.  That’s how we do.  I’ve been planning our meals, since we’ll be cooking all our own meals in the cabin — which I think is more fun than going out.

When Greg and I went honeymooning in Portugal, we cooked alot of our own meals.  We would walk the dusty roads to the grocery store and purchase items to make soups, sandwiches, and other tasty meals using Portuguese goods.  One of the foods I absolutely loved was their plain yogurt.  You may wonder why plain yogurt?  Well, I had never tasted anything like it in the US.  Plain yogurt in the US is bland and watery and not good.  Plain yogurt in Portugal was creamy, slightly sweet, and came in small, homey glass jars.  We would eat them with tiny metal spoons we found in our resort apartment — the tiny-ness of the spoons made the yogurt last longer.  It made me sad to think that I wouldn’t get plain yogurt like this back home.

But give it a little time, and things do start to look up.  One day my mom comes home from the grocery store and tells me to try this new greek yogurt she heard about.  It’s called FAGE.  One bite and I was hooked.  It reminded me of the yogurt in Portgual.  FAGE comes in different flavors, but the plain is good for me.  It’s a tad bit pricey at around $1.75 per individual container, but it is oh so worth it!  Especially during pregnancy, when an abundance of protein is a must.  The average yogurt has about 5 grams of protein.  FAGE has 17 grams of protein.  A favorite snack of mine these days is a FAGE yogurt with a dash of raw sugar or honey and a handful of whole grapes mixed in.  So very yummy.  A close second to FAGE yogurt is Chobani yogurt.  It doesn’t have the custardy goodness of FAGE, but it’s still good, and it’s cheaper.

FAGE — it’s “ridiculously thick yogurt”, and it’s got my approval.

fage-yogurt

sweetness.

One normal day I got out of the shower, got dressed, and came out of the bathroom to find this package of sorts on my bed.  If anyone knows I love packages, it’s Greg.  But, there was no Greg to be found — just this brown paper bag.

IMGP3136As soon as I saw it, I knew my husband had come home from work.  So I quickly ran to the bag and took out its contents.  IMGP3108What was inside?

Delightful little items from Roots Market, like,

1.  pecan splendor granola — for our “crunchy granola” tendencies.

2.  rainbow pre-natal vitamins — because we don’t want that “government fortified junk” going to our baby.  Thanks Sue Williams.

3.  nitrate-free hot dogs — because after only one bite, I fell in love with Hebrew National hot dogs over the summer, but could not indulge myself because of those nasty things called “nitrates.”

4.  ginger brew — because Greg and I are always always up for new kinds of ginger ale.  This one did not pass our taste test.  We still have yet to taste one better than “Natural Brew Outrageous Ginger Ale” — yummy.

5.  heart-shaped “Love You” note — because I have a husband that falls under the category, “sweetness.”  The note didn’t come from Roots Market — I know because I found the paper he cut it from hidden in one of my drawers.

IMGP3124IMGP3112

blackberry tea cake.

I made a cake to take to the beach a few weeks ago.  I came across this raspberry buttermilk cake recipe on Smitten Kitchen’s blog and fell in love with the website for it’s simple yet savory everyday food.  I liked how the writer + cook called this cake an everyday cake.  After making it, I personally would like to call it a tea time cake, because it brings to mind relaxing tea, pretty napkins, a soft breeze and good laughs.

I used blackberries instead of raspberries, but really any berry will do — even cherries.  It comes out very soft and flaky, so you don’t mind very much even if you have just a little bit more.  Oh, and the the grated lemon zest is a nice touch too.

cakecake2

cake3cake4cake5

Raspberry Buttermilk Cake
from Smitten Kitchen

“You can just ignore the word “raspberry” up there and swap it up with any which berry you please, like blackberries or blueberries or bits of strawberries or all of the above.  Makes one thin 9-inch cake, which might serve eight people, if you can pry it from first two people’s grasp.”

1 cup (130 grams) all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon (2 grams) baking powder
1/2 teaspoon (2 grams) baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 stick (56 grams) unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup (146 grams) plus 1 1/2 tablespoons (22 grams) sugar, divided
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest (optional)
1 large (57 grams) egg
1/2 cup well-shaken buttermilk
1 cup fresh raspberries (about 5 oz)

Preheat oven to 400°F with rack in middle.  Butter and flour a 9-inch round cake pan.

Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and set aside.  In a larger bowl, beat butter and 2/3 cup (146 grams) sugar with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about two minutes, then beat in vanilla and zest, if using.  Add egg and beat well.

At low speed, mix in flour mixture in three batches, alternating with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour, and mixing until just combined.  Spoon batter into cake pan, smoothing top.  Scatter raspberries evenly over top and sprinkle with remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons (22 grams) sugar.

Bake until cake is golden and a wooden pick inserted into center comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes.  Cool in pan 10 minutes, then turn out onto a rack and cool to warm, 10 to 15 minutes more.  Invert onto a plate.

 

blueberry lemonade.

I came across a lovely recipe for blueberry lemonade on Nectar & Light’s blog — she also happens to be one of my favorite photographers.

Greg and I were in the mood for something refreshing after work today, so we squeezed some lemons, sugared some blueberries and we both had a cool glass of lemonade (with blueberries!). 

blueberry lemonade

blueberry hill.

Oilyn, the kids, and myself went to Blueberry Hill for some good old-fashioned blueberry picking.  The blueberries were actually not ready to be picked for another week (a great disappointment for the kids), so we went strawberry picking instead.  Too bad it was the tail end of strawberry season, because we got smaller berries — though, they were still tasty.  I picked about a pound of strawberries and purchased some pre-picked blueberries.

I loved how dedicated and excited the Juan kids were about berry picking.  They told me about all the various fruits they pick during the year — strawberries first, then blueberries, raspberries, and peaches.  After peaches, apples are next in line, but southern Illinois does not grow apples.  I think it’s definitely likely that my kids and I will be making field trips to local farms for fruit picking — a great springtime, summertime, and falltime activity for kids of all ages.  The kids also told me how they like putting their freshly picked blueberries in the freezer and having them frozen.  I tried this when I got home, and they were yummy.  Tasted like blueberry popsicles…only bitesized pieces of goodness.  : )

blueberries1

blueberries2

The ones below are some I picked up at the Carbondale Farmer’s Market.  They are the biggest blueberries I’ve ever seen.

blueberries